Equity Bank Unveils MVNO strategy and rollout plan

Nairobi, Monday 26th  May 2014:   Equity Bank today unveiled  its  Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) strategy and rollout plan that is set to launch in July 2014.

Transforming Equity from somewhere you go, to something you do; supporting lifestyles  
 
Key Highlights

  • In a partnership, Equity will utilize Airtel’s excess capacity to deliver MVNO services
  • The partnership will reduce Equity’s cost of delivering MVNO services and this benefit will be passed on to customers
  • Airtel will get an opportunity to fully utilize its investment and significantly grow revenue  
  • Equity is doing it again – disrupting itself through innovating for the benefit of Kenyans and East Africans
  • Equity MVNO is a platform bigger than mobile money, a case study of banking going virtual
  • Making money accessible – wherever & whenever you need it, Benki Yangu Mkononi
  • First in Kenya, First in Africa to offer a full banking suite through an MVNO.  
  • Making banking a lifestyle defined by freedom, choice and control.
  • Strategic position to capture significant share of East Africa’s growth using a simple and shared prosperity model.  



Equity Bank has hailed their MVNO as the ‘next big thing’: Equity 3.0. The Equity MVNO accords Equity Bank the opportunity  to continue  its mission of furthering financial inclusion and innovative service offerings for all Kenyans by  presenting  their financial services offering on to a  single platform which will make banking services  more accessible, flexible convenient and more affordable.  
 
The bank has invested heavily in time, infrastructure and resources to prepare for this service offering. Platforms, technology and knowledge of customer needs and aspirations have combined to prepare for aggregation of the “Big Data”  that Equity believes will enable it to create a true e-economy – for the benefit of all Kenyans. A service that is a first for Kenya and a first for Africa.  
 
Alongside this investment, Equity has also developed important partnerships that will not only enable the process, but also help to drive costs down.  Notably,  a strategic  partnership with Airtel will support  Equity’s  delivery of MVNO services without the capital investment required by traditional mobile operators. These lower costs will be passed onto Equity Bank members via  innovative, affordable, next generation products and services.  “New skills combined with new systems  and cutting edge innovation  will yield  immense benefits that we  will  pass to our members,” says Dr. James Mwangi, CEO of Equity Bank Group,  “In this venture of enhancing our mobile banking offering, we are, as always, driven by our focus of making financial services convenient, accessible, affordable and inclusive.”
 
As the host and partner operator for Equity Bank, Airtel said it is delighted to be the mobile operator that is pioneering this innovation in the Kenyan Telecoms Industry. The company stated that the MVNO services will run on the excess capacity on its network, ensuring that it maintains seamless quality experience to its consumers.
 
Airtel Kenya CEO Adil Youssefi congratulated Equity Bank on the move to pioneer the MVNO  initiative  in Kenya saying that  “The launch of MVNOs is in line with Airtel Kenya’s innovation and differentiation agenda. We believe that the entry of the MVNOs into the market will stimulate and sustain overall market growth through a new range of innovative products and service propositions that will give more choice and value to Kenyans. Additionally, their entry into the market will increase the uptake of mobile services in key segments such as mobile commerce and data thereby accelerating the inclusion of all Kenyans into the mobile revolution for sustained economicdevelopment of the country”.  
 
In preparation for roll out, Equity Bank has put in place adequate human resource and technology to ensure efficient service delivery. A 300 seat customer contact center  fully  integrated with voice and social media is now operational 24 hours 7 days a week and staff have undergone  intense training on effective customer service and experience.
 To further enhance the speed and cope with anticipated increase in volume of  transactions  from the MVNO, the Bank’s recently implemented Oracle Supercluster is now fully activated and operational. The system is capable of supporting more than one million  transactions  per second  concurrently from cards and mobile  transactions  and core banking transactions. The system is now fully enabled for enhanced payment processing and expanded acquisition strategies including mobile transactions.
 
In addition, the recently rolled out integrated and robust IT platform and Tier 4 data centre provide comprehensive business functionality, immense transactional power and capability, high availability and reliability and supports enhanced customer experience.
 
Equity Bank has taken the strategic direction of  bringing full mobility to banking  -  all the while  simplifying the payments and transaction  process  –  enabling greater  inclusion  for all Kenyans. With the  new MVNO service, Equity bank will provide  the most secure banking platform delivered via the mobile phone. Pricing strategies will reduce the middlemen  layers of  fee  associated with mobile money  transactions  –  saving money  for individual Kenyans and  the Kenyan economy as a whole. Mobile transfers will be charged at 1% of the transaction  value compared to the prevailing market charges of 16%. The charges will be  capped at  Ksh  25  per transaction.  Additionally, instant loans will be available at  a maximum of  2%  per month  compared to the 7.5%  per month offered in the market.  
 
Equity MVNO will simply mirror all its banking services into the mobile phone. By linking the account to the mobile phone, customers can apply for loans, move money into and from their bank accounts and pay bills. In addition, through Equity banks’ multi-channel  connectivity, customers will be able to carry out cross border  transactions from their mobile phones. They will receive international remittances onto their accounts and access through their mobile phone numbers, Equity Agents, ATMs or branches.
 
Equity Bank staff will begin trialing the MVNO service today as the final round of testing before the service goes live to the public in July 2014.
 
Said Dr. Mwangi,  “We  feel that innovations and technology have given us a perfect opportunity to  continue our tradition of  rewarding our customers with control and  freedom of choice. All our customers will receive their sim cards ready for use as soon as we roll out.”
 
In addition, Dr Mwangi said that  ahead of  the full market launch  in July, Equity Bank was inviting all Kenyans above 18 years who wish to enjoy the enhanced mobile phone banking to open an Equity Bank account instantly on their phones.  “Today we are opening up this possibility through our new Equity Bank Hapo Hapo service that enables you to open an account on your phone by simply dialing *247#, enter your national ID number and you will receive your account number and Pin instantly,” explained Dr Mwangi.  The account opening process has been dignified and simplified as one can now open an Equity Bank account on their phone irrespective of their mobile
telco operator.
 
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About Equity Bank Group  
Equity Bank is the leading inclusive bank in Africa, listed at the Nairobi and Uganda Securities Exchanges. It is the largest bank in the region in terms of customer base with over 8.7 million bank accounts which is over 50 % of all bank accounts in Kenya and has presence in Uganda, South Sudan, Rwanda and Tanzania. The vision of Equity Bank is “to be the champion of social economic prosperity of the people of Africa” while its purpose “is to transform the lives and livelihoods of the people socially and economically by availing them modern, inclusive financial services that maximize their opportunities.” 

www.equitybankgroup.com; http://www.facebook.com/KeEquityBank; https://twitter.com/KeEquityBank